The Beowulf poem was written way back before the tenth century. This epic poem describes the exploits of Beowulf who is a Scandinavian Geatish hero. His fights against a fire breathing dragon, a monster called Grendel and Grendel’s mother earn him the title of the strongest and bravest warrior at the time (Heany, 4). The poem gives Beouwulf the character of the ideal hero, and his actions bring out the best values of a heroic character.
The Poem looks at Beowulf’s heroism in two different phases: during his youth and in his old age (15). During his youth, Beowulf fights and defeats three monsters which threaten the existence of his people. His youthful heroism makes him an unfettered warrior, loved by all. Strength, courage, loyalty, pride and courtesy are the heroic codes embodied in the character. As a much older hero, Beowulf proves that he is wise and worthy of being king himself. However, when he sacrifices himself at the end, he leaves his people without an insightful leader.
The heroic nature of Beowulf can be defined by his principle traits which are: he desires to display his courage when defending others, he is concerned with his lineage and loyalty oaths and his deep religious belief in God (18). He is one person who can be relied on to offer help whenever he is called upon to do so. Once he makes a vow, he never goes against his word. He will do as he promised, no matter how risky the action might be. During battle, he never wants to back down. He fights with all he has got so that he can save his people from their enemies.
Beowulf is a true heroic character for he is selfless and considerate. His heroic actions do not come as a result of wanting to show off; he rescues his people because he is concerned for their well being. He is even willing to risk his wellbeing and life just to save his people from different kinds of evil that befall them every now and again. His heroism makes him one of the most loved literary characters in the world
Spencer is a main character in the story “Early Autumn” (Rickis, 1). He is a private investigator who works for Patty Gaicomin, helping her find her lost son, Paul. Spencer is the modern day hero who must do what is right in order to give others what they deserve and to help them get what is good for them. When he finds Paul, he questions him about his opinions about both of his parents (3). He does this so that he can identify which is the best position for Paul in the current situation.Spencer has some kind of personal thrift in life and this leads him to find a solution to Paul’s problems. Paul, who is unloved by his parents becomes Spencer’s charge (12). Spencer does not accept him in his life because he does not have a choice; so he does for he cares. It is his nature to be concerned with what others are going through. Spencer, by taking care of Paul, shows how responsible he is. He has already been given money to find Paul, and when he does, he goes a step further in ensuring that Paul is safe not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally (15).
Out of his own will, Spencer teaches the teenage boy how to be a responsible young man, something his parents failed to do. Paul quickly learns how to be courageous under the guidance of Spencer. In this story, Spencer has been characterized as a tough detective whose principles lead him to do what is right. He goes about his duties with a sense of loyalty. He is confident and is not afraid to go out of the norm in order to save people. That is the character that people look for in a hero.
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A new Translation. London: Faber and Faber, 1999.
Rickis, Andrew. Early Autumn. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2003.